Pill, Bradley, Kerchner
Judge denies bond for accused killers in Brevard deputy shooting death
Flags are at half-staff outside the sheriff's office on Wednesday after a 15-year veteran Brevard County deputy was shot and killed after pulling over two robbery suspects in Melbourne.
The community is mourning the death of 52-year-old Deputy Barbara Pill. She was the first Brevard County deputy killed in the line of duty in 16 years.
On Tuesday night, the two murder suspects were taken to jail.
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Brandon Bradley and Andria Michelle Kerchner will face a judge Wednesday. They are accused of shooting the deputy four times after she pulled them over for allegedly stealing from a motel.
Both suspects are being held without bond at the Brevard County Jail. They are each facing multiple charges, including first-degree murder.
Radio transmissions reveal just how tense the moments were when authorities heard five gunshots ring out and Pill was shot multiple times on Tuesday.
"Confirmed he shot a deputy; be careful. Use caution. He's armed," an officer said over the radio. "They have officers in the south. Watch for crossfire."
Investigators said Bradley and Kerchner had stolen furniture from an Econo Lodge near 192 and I-95.
Pill was trying to talk them out of their car when investigators said Bradley opened fire.
Bradley and Kerchner fled, but ended up crashing their SUV in a ditch a few blocks away, where they were taken into custody.
Deputy Pill didn't survive.
Bradley, a man deputies call a career criminal, could only muster a brief apology.
"Brandon what do you have to say to the deputy's family?" WFTV asked.
"I'm sorry," he replied.
"Andrea, what was your role in this?" WFTV asked.
"I didn't shoot the deputy; these cops is liars," said Kerchner.
Records obtained by WFTV show that one of the suspects charged with the murder should have never been let out of jail.
Since 2007, 22-year-old Brandon Bradley has a very long arrest record, including fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault, burglary, resisting arrest, child cruelty, kidnapping, weapons charges, and 10 drug charges.
He was arrested last year, but he fooled jail officials when he said he was his brother and was allowed to bond out.
Guests at the Econo Lodge motel saw Bradley and 19-year-old Kerchner stealing furniture before the shooting.
"She was pretty scared; she'd seen the look on the guy's face and turned around and came back to the room," said motel guest Chris Montesano. "She had a bad feeling about it."
Kerchner also has a record for selling drugs.
Bradley and Kerchner could face the death penalty if convicted.
According to Florida's guidelines, any suspect who commits murder while avoiding arrest or while trying to escape is eligible for the death penalty. The law also says a suspect who commits murder while interfering with law enforcement can receive capital punishment.
Friends, family and the law enforcement community are mourning the loss of Pill. She was a 15-year veteran of the department, and the mother of two sons who are also law enforcement officers.
One of her sons, Jeremy, was on a cruise when he found out about the shooting. The Coast Guard picked him up in a helicopter to bring him home.
Heartbroken comrades gathered to console one another outside Holmes Regional Medical Center to mourn the loss of Pill.
Flags were placed at half-staff, and black stripes covered deputies' badges.
"She is the kind of person who was always engaged, always doing things, that's again why she was on this scene today. She was the first one on scene," said Brevard County Sheriff Jack Parker.
Parker said Pill did not shy away from danger, yet she was one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
"It's one thing to lose someone that you love. It's another thing to lose some that you love in this way," said Parker.
She was also a mother and grandmother. Her son Ryan is an officer with the Melbourne Village Police.
Another son, Jeremy, is also a Brevard County deputy and her daughter-in-law is a crime scene investigator.
"Her whole family is an incredible family and she is a tremendous loss to our community. She's one of those heroes behind the scenes," said Parker.
Pill spent 15 of her 30 years in law enforcement in Brevard County.
Pill's Palm Bay neighbors are equally shaken over their friend's death.
"I was crushed. I just couldn't believe it. It hit so close to home," said William Gurny, Pill's friend.
According to her closest friends, Pill was also closing in on retirement.
Gov. Rick Scott offered his condolences to Pill's loved ones, and said this tragedy should remind us of the risks taken by every member of law enforcement.
Scott released a statement Tuesday that said, in part:
"When officers lose their lives in the line of duty, it is a solemn reminder of how grateful we should all be for their service. May we always show the honor and gratitude these brave men and women deserve."
Deputy Raymond Warner was that last Brevard County deputy killed in the line of duty. He was shot and killed in June 1996 while responding to a burglary at Merritt Island High School. The suspect in that crime was shot and killed.